Capital vs Revenue: Swapping assets doesnt swap their nature

Section 42 of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (ITA) is a cornerstone of the so called corporate rules in the ITA. Should certain conditions be met, this section provides roll-over relief to a taxpayer where that taxpayer exchanges an asset for shares in a company. At a glance Section 42 of the ITA provides that where a taxpayer holds an asset as a capital asset and disposes of this asset to a company in exchange for that company issuing the taxpayer equity shares. In order for section 42 to apply, the taxpayer must hold at least 10% of the equity shares in the company to which the taxpayer transfers the asset following the transaction. Section 42 also provides that where a taxpayer holds an asset as a capital asset, the company acquiring that asset in exchange for issuing shares to the taxpayer will acquire that asset as a Read More …

Estimating the tax effects of the sale of a business in the hands of a seller

Author: Craig Miller from Webber Wentzel. Tax practitioners are often asked to calculate the indicative effects of the prospective sale of a business (assuming no roll-over relief applies) for the seller. Invariably, the tax practitioner will be informed by the private equity or corporate finance practitioner that enterprise value (EV) is the estimated fair value of the operations of the business. However, this may give rise to a misunderstanding. A tax practitioner is likely to be confused by reference to the “business” (a term only appearing three times in the Income Tax Act) and will not always understand how this value is calculated.

Buying a house and paying transfer duty Separate rights equals separate obligations

Author: Louis Botha (Associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). In our recent Tax and Exchange Control Alert of 13 October 2017, we referred to the number of tax court judgments that were recently published by SARS on its website. One of these cases is the matter of Ms A and Mr B v The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (Case No IT13974 & 13993) (as yet unreported), handed down by the Tax Court on 24 March 2017. In this case Ms A and Mr B (Taxpayers) appealed against SARSs decision regarding the transfer duty payable on a property which they purchased in terms of a written sale agreement.

Ruling on unitised incentive scheme does not provide much clarity

An employee incentive scheme that is commonly used works as follows: A company forms a trust. The company funds the trust, and the trust then uses the funds to buy shares in the company. The employees of the company are given units in the trust, usually free of charge. The units entitle the employees to receive distributions from the trust on the underlying shares. The employees forfeit their units in certain circumstances and may generally not dispose of their units. The trust may “repurchase” the units from the employees in certain circumstances.

Tax consequences of the part waiver of a loan and the reduction of the interest rate

Authors: Heinrich Louw, Gigi Nyanin and Mark Morgan. On 10 October 2016, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) issued binding private ruling 252 (Ruling) which determines the donations tax and capital gains tax (CGT) consequences of the waiver of a portion of a loan and the reduction of interest on the remaining balance of the loan to 0%. By way of background, debt relief in South Africa has become somewhat of a norm due to the current stressed economic climate. One of the most common means of debt relief by creditors has been the waiver of the whole or part of a debt. For the years of assessment commencing before 1 January 2013, the reduction of debt was subject to income tax, donations tax and/or CGT, which had the result of effectively undermining the economic benefit of the debt relief.

Commercial property: three ways to save tax

The effective rate of capital gains tax (CGT) has increased dramatically in recent years. When CGT was introduced in South Africa in 2001 the effective rate for companies was 15%. The effective rate is now 22.4%. So, since 2001 the effective rate of CGT for corporates has increased by nearly 50%. In addition, when a company distributes a profit after tax to its shareholders, they pay dividends tax at a rate of 15% (unless the shareholders qualify for an exemption, or a reduced rate).

Capital v Revenue: the taxpayer prevails – ommissioner for the South African Revenue Service v Capstone 556 (Pty) Ltd (20844/2014) [2016] ZASCA 2 (9 February 2016)

The question of whether an amount constitutes capital or revenue in a specific instance, is an issue that our courts have grappled with on many occasions. In Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service v Capstone 556 (Pty) Ltd (20844/2014) [2016] ZASCA 2 (9 February 2016), the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had to deal with this very issue. The SCA had to decide two questions: whether the share sale of the taxpayer, Capstone, of approximately 17.5 million shares in JD Group Ltd (JDG), through which it made a profit of R400 million, constituted revenue or was capital in nature; and whether an indemnity settlement paid by the taxpayer after it had sold the shares, formed part of the base cost of the shares for purposes of capital gains tax (CGT).

Settlors beware: control over the assets of a trust

The establishment of an offshore discretionary trust (“the Trust”) by a South African tax resident person (“Settlor”) gives rise to various South African tax considerations. In terms of current law (which may or may not be impacted upon by the various proposals set out in the Davis Tax Committee’s First Interim Report on Estate Duty), the following taxes may typically be triggered by the Settlor in respect of the disposal of assets to the Trust in settlement thereof: capital gains tax at a maximum effective rate of approximately 13.65% of the capital gain realised; donations tax at a rate of 20% of the amount or the market value of the assets donated; and any income derived by the Trust in respect of any donation made by the Settlor may be attributed to the Settlor and accordingly subject to South African income tax in his/her hands.

Asset-for-share transactions

Section 42 of the Income Tax Act of 1962 (the Act) provides for tax roll-over relief in respect of asset-for-share transactions as defined. Such a transaction generally entails the disposal by a person of an asset to a company, and the issue of new shares by that company to the person, as consideration. One of the requirements is that the nature of the asset must be retained. In other words, if the person held the asset as trading stock, the company must acquire it as trading stock, and if the person held it as a capital asset, the company must acquire it as a capital asset. If the person held the asset as a capital asset, the company may acquire it as trading stock if the person (where the person is a company) and the company do not form part of the same group of companies.

Capital Gails Tax – Disposal of sectional title units to shareholders

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) released Binding Private Ruling, No 206 (the Ruling) on 14 September 2015. The Ruling dealt with the disposal by a share block company of sectional title units to its share block holders. A resident company (Applicant), and a resident trust (Trust), held shares in a resident share block company (Share Block Company). The Share Block Company owned three sectional title units. It was proposed that the Share Block Company would dispose of the sectional title units to the Applicant and the Trust. The Applicant and the Trust would then surrender their share block certificates and rights of use to the Share Block Company. These would then be cancelled.